t h e m a y f i l e s is foremost a family blog, chronicling everyday life. Life including natural, healthy eating (with recipes thrown in at random), home educating (with ideas popping up sporadically), an attempt to homestead on .2 acres (with very meager yields), raising 3 of 4 children with a rare genetic disorder, and lots of highly personal family triumphs and failures. You may also find an eclectic array of musings on politics, exercise, sewing, emergency preparedness, backyard chickens, and religion. This blog isn't a campaign to glorify anyone or anything. Just simply a record.


Early Homeschool Curriculum Reviews

I read a passionate thread from the local newspaper on homeschooling versus public schooling.  I was surprised at the rancor it aroused.  Lively discussion fuels me.  It always has.  My dad knew that from the time I was a little girl.  He knew just the right things to say to really get me going.  Usually it had some anti-feminist undertones.  It makes me smile to think of the sparks he could illicit from me.  Passionate people expressing their ideas forces me to rethink and evaluate what I am doing and why.  Self-reflection is never over-rated.  

Now...the reason I wrote this post:

Curriculum Updates

With a month into the school year, here are my thoughts on some of our new programs and the old!

Spanish Rosetta Stone

So far so good.  This program was purchased by the charter school Ellery is enrolled in for Independent learning.  The lessons are entirely done at the computer.  What I love is there is no English.  It is an immersion type program, using pictures, reading and speaking.  Ellery receives immediate feedback and loves trying to beat her score until she finally masters the level.  Still up for review is the pronunciation aspect of this program.   The computer does not seem to replace the need for a speaker listening and correcting.  I think for spoken fluency we will need a tutor.  

 Looking good as well.  It is a nice slow start.  Ellery says it is her favorite language.  She is almost finishing learning the Latin phonograms.  It is clear to me why their English phonetics should be solid before beginning because many familiar vowel combinations make unfamiliar sounds.  An older child may find it boring, but it is a perfect quick 15 minutes.  She is almost through the first level already.  I anticipate as she moves into vocabulary she will slow considerably.

Singapore Math 

This has been interesting.  It is very different than Saxon and Shiller.  I love the mental math component of it.  I don't think it is a "stand alone" program.  I need to supplement or it feels too "workbooky" for our preferences.  I add in Shiller and Saxon and lots of games, when we start to feel bored.  One thing I have done this year is start having the children build little math composition books.  Last year all our notes just were done on random paper.  This year we work out our problems, do samples all in a composition book.  This has been a great addition.  Using the placement tests, I put Callista in level 1B and Ellery in 2A.  That puts Callista a little ahead, and Ellery slightly behind, the advanced international/private school pacing.  Both seem a bit easy, but are building in difficulty level quickly.

We still do lots of drill worksheets from Saxon to increase basic fact fluency.

This is Wanda Sanseri's updated, "at home" version of Romalda Spalding's Writing Road to Reading.   The program follows WRTR closely, almost identically.  However, it removes the need for the expensive teacher's edition for each grade.  Sanseri provides many supplemental enrichment activities to reinforce spelling.  It is a much better fit for the home.  I'm not certain if you need the background given in WRTR to make this program work, or if it is fine as a stand alone.  This is a much better fit for teaching in the home.  Sample sentences are provided for each word, including quotations drawn from the Bible and prominent historical and literary figures.  They are excellent conversational spearheads.  I would go with the entire teacher core kit.  It is $95 but it will last you at least 5 years of spelling for each child.  No other spelling or phonics instruction will be needed.  


Susan Wise Bauer's series is still a family favorite.  We got a little behind and are just finishing the last few chapters in the first book.  In a couple weeks we will begin the Middle Ages.  I recommend the activity book.  It is a great resource for additional reading, activities, maps, and coloring pages.  

Our other programs are a little too fresh to put a word out on yet.  I will let you know.


Jessica said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you posting all of your homeschooling information. It is so helpful!!

Erin said...

Is it true Spell to Write and Read takes daily preparation on the parent's part? I don't mind investing some time to learn it, but I don't know if I can keep up with doing things beforehand each day.

Rebecca said...


So good to have you back! I think you must be Desi's friend? The program does not take daily prep. I am in the same boat as you, I can't handle daily prep. Those things which require such, seem to get pushed to few and far between. As much as I love them (Science et cetera) it is much harder to spontaneously complete. I really recommend programs which don't require too much of you, once you have learned the methodology that is!

Erin said...

No, I don't know Desiree. I never even saw her blog, actually, before I emailed her. But I'd passed along one of your recipes via your blog to my sister, who passed it on to her friend (for recipes), who happened to notice that yours and Desiree's kids were on each other's blogs. Random, I know.

Your homeschool info is invaluable. I've gotten a bunch of ideas/hints from here. Thanks!